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Ask Slashdot: Permanent Preservation of Human Knowledge?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-mean-facebook-won't-survive-the-apocalypse? department:
Wayne2 writes "While there have been many attempts to preserve human knowledge in electronic format, it occurred to me that these attempts all assume that human civilization remains more or less intact. Given humanity's history of growth and collapse with knowledge repeatedly gained then lost, has anyone considered a more permanent solution? I realize that this could be very difficult and/or expensive depending on how long we want to preserve the information and what assumptions we make regarding posterity's ability to access it. Alternatively, are we, as a species, willing to start over if we experience a catastrophe, pandemic, etc. of significant magnitude on a global scale that derails our progress and sends us back to the dark ages or worse?"

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Underground 'Wind Mines' Could Keep Datacenters Powered
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's thar-be-wind-in-them-thar-hills department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Major IT vendors have been including custom-built wind- and solar-power farms in their datacenter construction plans. But while wind and solar power may be clean, they're often unreliable, especially by the standards of datacenters that need a way to keep operating through any unexpected surges or drops in power. How about saving the wind that generates the power? That might work, according to researchers at the federal Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), and U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. A study published in February (PDF) outlined the potential benefit of pumping pressurized air into caverns deep underground as a way to store wind energy, then letting it out whenever demand spikes, or the wind drops, and the above-ground facilities need help spinning enough turbines to keep power levels steady. The technique, called Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) isn't new: existing CAES plants in Alabama and Huntorf, Germany (built in 1991 and 1978, respectively) store compressed air in underground salt caverns hollowed out by solution mining (pumping salt-saturated water out of concentrations of salt buried far underground and replacing it with fresh water). But implementing such a technique for datacenters might take a little work. The BPA and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have already identified, and are evaluating, sites in the Pacific Northwest that would be suitable for CAES underground reservoirs; the first, which could be located in Washington's Columbia Hills could—via existing CAES technology—store enough compressed air to generate a steady 207MW for 40 days of continuous usage, ultimately delivering 400 additional hours without adding any compressed air."

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Doug Engelbart Passes Away
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's rest-in-peace department:
lpress writes "If you use a mouse, hyperlinks, video conferencing, WYSIWYG word processor, multi-window user interface, shared documents, shared database, documents with images & text, keyword search, instant messaging, synchronous collaboration, or asynchronous collaboration, you can thank Doug Engelbart, who passed away today."

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Apple Hires CEO of Yves Saint Laurent To Head Special Projects
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's introducing-the-iCravat department:
alphadogg writes "Apple has hired Paul Deneve, until Tuesday the CEO of French luxury brand Yves Saint Laurent, to work as its vice president for special projects, igniting fresh speculation about possible new product launches including a TV or wearable computing devices such as a smart watch. He'll be reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook. Unsurprisingly, the company doesn't want to elaborate on what kind of special projects Deneve, who has worked at Apple in the past, will be working on. But the hire has resulted in analysts speculating, and wearable computing is on top of the list."

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USPS Logs All Snail Mail For Law Enforcement
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's feel-free-to-keep-all-the-spam department:
The NY Times reports on a program in use by the United States Postal Service that photographs the exterior of every piece of mail going through the system and keeps it for law enforcement agencies. While the volume of snail mail is dropping, there were still over 160 billion pieces of mail last year. "The Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program was created after the anthrax attacks in late 2001 that killed five people, including two postal workers. Highly secret, it seeped into public view last month when the F.B.I. cited it in its investigation of ricin-laced letters sent to President Obama and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. It enables the Postal Service to retroactively track mail correspondence at the request of law enforcement. No one disputes that it is sweeping." This is in addition to the "mail covers" program, which has been used to keep tabs on mailings sent to and from suspicious individuals for over a century. "For mail cover requests, law enforcement agencies simply submit a letter to the Postal Service, which can grant or deny a request without judicial review. Law enforcement officials say the Postal Service rarely denies a request. In other government surveillance program, such as wiretaps, a federal judge must sign off on the requests. The mail cover surveillance requests are granted for about 30 days, and can be extended for up to 120 days. There are two kinds of mail covers: those related to criminal activity and those requested to protect national security. The criminal activity requests average 15,000 to 20,000 per year, said law enforcement officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are prohibited by law from discussing the requests. The number of requests for antiterrorism mail covers has not been made public."

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Opinion: Apple Should Have Gone With Intel Instead of TSMC
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 09:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's smaller-better-way-more-expensive department:
itwbennett writes "Apple is planning to have its ARM processors manufactured by TSMC — a move that blogger Andy Patrizio thinks is a colossal mistake. Not only is TSMC already over-extended and having trouble making deadlines. But Intel was clearly the better choice: 'Intel may be struggling in mobility with the Atom processors, but Intel does yields and manufacturing process migration better than anyone,' says Patrizio. 'While TSMC wrestles with 28nm and looking to 20nm, Intel is at 22nm now and moving to 14nm for next year. This is important; the smaller the fabrication design, the less power used.'"

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LibreOffice Calc Set To Get GPU Powered Boost From AMD
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's lightning-speed-sales-projection department:
darthcamaro writes "We all know that the open source LibreOffice Calc has been slow — forever and a day. That's soon going to change thanks to a major investment made by AMD into the Document Foundation. AMD is helping LibreOffice developers to re-factor Calc to be more performance and to be able to leverage the full power of GPUs and APUs. From the article: '"The reality has been that Calc has not been the fastest spreadsheet in the world," Suse Engineer Michael Meeks admitted. "Quite a large chunk of this refactoring is long overdue, so it's great to have the resources to do the work so that Calc will be a compelling spreadsheet in its own right."'"

Math operations will be accelerated using OpenCL, unit tests are being added for the first time, and the supposedly awful object oriented code is being rewritten with a "modern performance oriented approach".

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Bolivian President's Plane 'Rerouted Over Snowden Suspicions'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's plot-continues-to-thicken department:
niftydude writes with the latest news on the Edward Snowden saga. It appears that the Bolivian President's plane was denied access to French and Spanish airspace due to suspicions that Snowden was on board. Quoting a few pieces from the Guardian: "In an extraordinary move, France and Portugal revoked flight clearances for the Bolivian President's plane on Tuesday after representations were reportedly made by the U.S. State Department. Mr Morales was flying home from an energy conference in Moscow and his aircraft was hastily rerouted to Vienna, Austria. Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca angrily denied that Mr Snowden was on the President's aircraft, a fact later confirmed by Austrian authorities, and said France and Portugal would have to explain why they abruptly canceled authorization for the flight. AP reports that Venezuela's foreign minister Elias Jaua has condemned the decision by France and Portugal to block the plane from its airspace. He claimed that changing a flight's route without checking on how much fuel was left in the plane, put Morales' life at risk."

Spain claims they only agreed to allow the plane to refuel there if it were subject to search, and France did end up authorizing use of their air space today. In related news, Julian Assange and the general secretary of Reporters Without Borders Christophe Deloire published an Op-Ed today why Europe must protect Snowden. And: dryriver sends news that Ecuador discovered that their embassy in London was bugged, describing the incident as "another instance of a loss of ethics at the international level in relations between governments."

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Laser Blood Scan Could Help Identify Malaria and Other Diseases
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 07:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's might-sting-a-bit department:
sciencehabit writes "Combining lasers with a principle discovered by Alexander Graham Bell over 100 years ago, researchers have developed a new way to collect high-resolution information about the shape of red blood cells. The lasers pulse every 760 nanoseconds to induce red blood cells to emit sound waves with frequencies of more than 100MHz, one of the highest frequencies ever achieved. Testing the laser on blood samples collected from a group of human volunteers, researchers showed that the high-frequency sound waves emitted by red blood cells in the blood samples revealed the tiniest details about the cells' shapes. Because diseases like malaria can alter the shape of the body's cells, the device may provide a way to accurately diagnose various blood disorders before it's too late."

Abstract (actual paper is paywalled).

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Launch of India's First Navigation Satellite Successful
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 06:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's satellites-for-all department:
An anonymous reader writes "India's first dedicated navigation satellite, the IRNSS-1A, developed by the Indian Space Research Organization, was successfully put in orbit on Monday night. The launch vehicle, PSLV-C22, bearing the 1,425-kg navigation satellite, blasted off the launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Center here at the scheduled lift-off time of 11.41 p.m."

The satellite is the first of seven that will eventually provide a regional equivalent of GPS under complete Indian control.

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'Boston Patients' Still HIV Free After Quitting Antiretroviral Meds
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 06:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's 90s-dream-come-true department:
ananyo writes "Two men with HIV may have been cured after they received stem-cell transplants to treat the blood cancer lymphoma, their doctors announced today at the International AIDS Society Conference in Kuala Lumpur.
One of the men received stem-cell transplants to replace his blood-cell-producing bone marrow about three years ago, and the other five years ago. Their regimens were similar to one used on Timothy Ray Brown, the 'Berlin patient' who has been living HIV-free for six years and is the only adult to have been declared cured of HIV. Last July, doctors announced that the two men — the 'Boston patients' — appeared to be living without detectable levels of HIV in their blood, but they were still taking antiretroviral medications at that time."


The story reports that they have only been off of medication for seven and fifteen weeks and they won't know for a year, but signs are looking positive.

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Obamacare Employer Mandate Delayed Until After Congressional Elections
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 05:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's chocolate-ration-increased department:
theodp writes "If you hoped your employer would finally provide health insurance in 2014, take two aspirin and call your doctor in the morning — the morning of January 1st, 2015. The Obama administration will delay a crucial provision of its signature health-care law until 2015, giving businesses an extra year to comply with a requirement that they provide their workers with insurance. The government will postpone enforcement of the so-called employer mandate until 2015, after the congressional elections, the administration said Tuesday. Under the provision, companies with 50 or more workers face a fine of as much as $3,000 per employee if they don't offer affordable insurance."

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Why Automakers Should Stop the Infotainment Arms Race
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 04:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's driving-under-the-influence-of-angry-birds department:
New submitter SomewhatRandom writes "Dailytech recently published an article titled 'Detroit Automakers Vie For App Devs Amid Infotainment Arms Race.' Unfortunately for auto manufacturers, they are in a poor position to complete with companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc... and they should give up the arms race and take a different direction. Mobile operating systems and their associated hardware have a rapid release cycle that significantly outpaces vehicle infotainment systems. Additionally, mobile OSs are developed by specialized companies that can spend dump trucks filled with money on their platform. I'm sorry Dodge, Toyota, Honda and all your friends; you simply can't compete."

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US Director of National Intelligence Admits He Was Wrong About Data Collection
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 02:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's promoted-to-director-of-the-obvious department:
Gunkerty Jeb writes "In a highly unusual move, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said Tuesday that he misspoke when he told a Congressional committee in March that the National Security Agency does not collect data on millions of Americans. Clapper said at the time that the agency does not do so 'wittingly,' but in a letter to the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper admitted this statement was 'erroneous.' Clapper, the top U.S. intelligence official, has been quite vocal in his defense of the NSA's now-public surveillance programs such as PRISM and the metadata collection program. In statements published shortly after the leak of classified documents by Edward Snowden about those collection efforts Clapper said that they both have been repeatedly authorized by Congress and the executive and judicial branches over the years."

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Calif. Attorney General: We Need To Crack Down On Companies That Don't Encrypt
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's making-it-more-painful-to-be-bad-at-security department:
tsamsoniw writes "California Attorney Kamala Harris says her office will start cracking down on companies in the Golden State that don't encrypt customer data and fall victim to data breaches; she's also calling on the state to pass a law requiring companies to use encryption. That's just one of the recommendations in the state's newly released data breach report, which says 131 companies in California suffered data breaches in 2012, affecting 2.5 million residents."

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Things That Scare the Bejeezus Out of Programmers
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 12:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-just-a-matter-of-code department:
itwbennett writes "Software developers are, by and large, a cool and analytical bunch, but there are a handful of things that strike terror in their hearts. Phil Johnson scoured developer forums looking for an answer to the question: What's your biggest fear as a programmer? The answers clustered into 5 broad groups ranging from being forced to learn or use a specific technology to working for and with incompetents. What's your biggest fear?"

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Farm Workers Carry Drug-Resistant Staph Despite Partial FDA Antibiotics Ban
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 10:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's that's-awfully-mean-of-them department:
An anonymous reader writes "New research out of the University of North Carolina now shows factory farm workers actually carry drug-resistant staph. Europe has long ago banned the use of antibiotics in livestock, but the FDA remains behind the curve with a partial ban. Thanks to large industrial farming operations, we all remain continuously at risk as our last line of antibiotics is wasted on animals."

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Breaking Up With MakerBot
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 08:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's caught-cheating-with-stratasys department:
An anonymous reader writes "Sanders Kleinfeld explains how his experiences with a Makerbot device led him to the decision that 3-D printing hasn't quite arrived as a legitimate, consumer-friendly technology. Quoting: 'Waiting five hours for your Yoda feels like an eternity; you can play approximately sixty rounds of Candy Crush Saga in that same timeframe (although arguably, staring blankly at the MakerBot is equally intellectually stimulating). To make matters worse, I’d estimate MakerBot’s failure rate fell in the range of 25%–33%, which meant that there was around a one-in-three chance that two hours in, your Yoda print would fail, or that it would finish but once it was complete, you’d discover it was warped or otherwise defective. ... The first-generation MakerBot Replicator felt too much like a prototype, as opposed to a proven, refined piece of hardware. I look forward to the day when 3D printers are as cheap, ubiquitous, and easy to use as their 2D inkjet printer counterparts.'"

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AOC's 21:9 Format, 29" IPS Display Put To the Test At 2560x1080
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 07:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's how-does-quake-3-look-on-it department:
MojoKid writes "Ask any person who owns a dual-monitor setup and they'll likely tell you they couldn't fathom going back to a single display. But what if you could enjoy all the benefits of a dual-monitor configuration from a single monitor? Would you be game to reclaiming some desk space by trading in two panels for a single display? AOC aims to answer that question with its new 29-inch Q2963PM LCD monitor. Armed with an UltraWide IPS panel, this LED-backlit monitor boasts a 2560x1080 resolution with 21:9 aspect ratio, providing users with an extra wide panoramic view. With features like picture-in-picture (PIP) and picture-by-picture (PBP) built-in, workcaholics can multitask the night away from multiple video sources with plenty of horizontal real estate to play with. The funky aspect ratio limits the appeal of the Q2963PM for gamers currently; though if developers were to jump on board, a 21:9 monitor could offer a wider field-of-view of the action."

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The Simian Army and the Antifragile Organization
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 06:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-it-ain't-broke-get-a-bigger-hammer department:
CowboyRobot writes "ACM has an article about how Netflix conducts its resilience testing. Instead of the GameDays used by sites such as Amazon and Google, Netflix uses what they call The Simian Army, based on the philosophy that 'Resilience can be improved by increasing the frequency and variety of failure and evolving the system to deal better with each new-found failure, thereby increasing anti-fragility.' While GameDay exercises are like a fire-drill, with scheduled exercises where failure is manually introduced or simulated, the Simian Army relies on failure in the live environment induced by autonomous agents known as 'monkeys.' Chaos Monkey randomly terminates virtual instances in a production environment that are serving live customer traffic. Chaos Gorilla causes an entire Amazon Availability Zone to fail. And Chaos Kong will take down an entire region of zones. 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger' and Netflix hopes that by constantly protecting itself from internal onslaught, they will become increasingly 'anti-fragile — growing stronger from each successive stressor, disturbance, and failure.'"

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